Pepper Leaves Curling: What To Do

Growing pepper can be as simple as having soil, water, and sun. Simultaneously, you can do it the complex way using a greenhouse under controlled conditions and water. The whole process of growing your vegetables is exciting. That way, you are assured they are healthy.

But any time there are unbalanced conditions or nutrients, it causes stress to the pepper affecting its health, which will show on its leaves. Before you realize what’s going on, you can undergo a lot of stress and, ever regret the decision to grow your vegetables.

When pepper is under stress, the leaves start curling. This can be caused by various reasons, as you are going to learn in this article.

Pepper Plant Leaves Curling

As seen above, the curling of leaves is caused by stress in your plant. There are simple ways to deal with the stress on the plant. But first, it is essential to identify exactly what is causing the stress, thus making it easy to deal with the issue straight away.


The worst thing you can do to a pepper plant is to overwater it. Overwatering causes the leaves to curl as the root won’t be getting enough oxygen and nutrients to supply to the leaves.

Apart from the curl leaves, overwatering causes yellowing of leaves and slows the plant’s growth. Therefore, pepper plants prefer dry soil.

Ensure you water the plant when the soil is dry. You can test the soil dryness by checking the moisture below the top layer’s surface, lifting the pot to feel the weight.

At the same time, pepper should not be left dry for a long time as it causes it to wilt. The good part is once you water the plant, it rebounds.

The Plant Edema

Plant Edema is a plant disorder caused when the water is irregularly retained. At first, the pepper plant will seam whitish and crystallized under the leaves. When the disorder is extreme leaves start to curl.

To deal with this issue, ensure the soil, and potting mixes can drain quickly. Avoid overusing fertilizers. Also, reducing the humidity will help the plant recover from the plant Edema condition.

Plant-Calcium Deficiency

Plant-Calcium is an essential nutrient in the growth of pepper. It helps in the development of healthy cell walls. When pepper plants lack the required amount of plant-calcium, the leaves don’t develop correctly, and they also start to curl. Apart from that, the leaves can start having brown spots and become yellow.

To curb this issue, you need to provide calcium to the plant by adding plant-calcium supplements. Calcium can, at times, be included in fertilizers. Check the ingredients of the fertilizer to ensure it has calcium.

Also, some potting mixes may include calcium, which will help in growth. Confirm to see the soil nutrients on the soil to add the nutrients that are missing. If you are planting the pepper on the ground, add all the nutrients needed to get a healthy plant.

Light Intensity

Light is needed in the growth of a pepper plant. Pepper enjoys full sunlight all through the day and season.

If the plant is indoors, it is not getting all the light intensity, thus affecting it. You can solve the issue by providing the right light intensity either by using the collect bulb or placing it in a position it gets direct sunlight. Also, you take the crop outdoors for it to recover faster.

If the plant is indoors and too close to the light fixture, it could be an issue. The leaves could be rebelling from the close light intensity by curling. If you don’t move the plant, it will dry, and the leaves will drop.

The light intensity most often affects young tender plants. So when dealing with the seedling, be extra careful.

Adjust the light and take it a few inches higher. Put the light 12-18 inches away from the plant. The light should be on for 12-16 hours, and for the Rest part of the day, it should be off.

Suppose the plant has outdoor water at dawn or dusk as the beads on the water can reflect the sunlight and burn the plant. In this case, the burns are dark on the leaves and not the curl. When you move your plant outdoors, you may notice the curl as the plant adapts to the direct sunlight, but it will recover with time.

Insect Damage

The insect can be the cause of the curling leaves. They come from nowhere and attack the plant. When the insect attacks the plants, they attack some parts of the leaves and leave the rest in most cases. So if you notice curling in some leaves, then it is the insect, but then the problem might be something else when it is all the leaves.

Dealing with pests once they attack is a bit hard as compared to preventing them from attacking. The solution is handpicking the affected leaves and burning them to get rid of the insects entirely. You can also bring a ladybug as it feeds on the pest and helps get rid of the pest.

Use neem oil on either the soil or spray directly to the foliage to prevent pests from attacking the plant. The leaves may take time to recover from the pest attack even after all the pests are gone. But the new leaves that will be sprouting will be healthy.

Environmental Stress

Another cause of your pepper leaves curling is the environment you are growing the plant in. If your environment does not meet the nutritional and weather condition, plants will not grow as expected.

During hot days, temperatures are often high, causing your pepper leaves to curl. This is primarily during the middle days of summer. This theory’s logic is that when the winds blow over your pepper plants, they cause environmental stress. Strong winds, scorching ones, lower humidity. Your pepper plants will curl their leaves as a defense mechanism.

For the farmers who compost in their homes, it will help if you avoid adding plant material that has been treated with herbicides to your compost pile. The herbicide remnants will end up in your pepper plant’s spoil.

Whenever you observe that your plants are curling their leaves only when it is hot, water them. Watering the plants during hot days increases the moisture content around their roots, reducing the need to curl their leaves. The plant tissue will also remain more relaxed, and the plant will grow faster and healthier.

Gardeners sometimes contribute to adding environmental stress unconsciously. When you spray your plants with herbicides, they may also cause your pepper leaves to curl. You may not be spraying the pepper plants themselves to cause this stress. If it’s windy, the herbicides will land on the pepper leaves. Runoff is another way herbicides end up in the pepper plants’ space.

Cultural Damage

Over the years, people have developed their own cultures in farming. These cultures include various aspects, such as pruning. In the case of growing pepper plants, excess pruning causes curling of the remaining leaves.

If you are not careful when pruning, you will remove more leaves from the pepper plant than necessary. The result is usually straining the remaining leaves to meet the plant’s photosynthesis needs. It is better to prune your pepper plants for a few days rather than pruning at once, leaving them with fewer leaves than is required.

Transplant Shock

Whenever you transplant a plant, remove it from its original environment to create a new one. It is essential to give your plant a few days to get accustomed to the new environment before you begin getting concerned.

At times you may damage the plant roots as you uproot them for transplanting. When the plant is in shock, it is normal for it to curl its leaves. Your pepper leaves will be back to their usual selves with patience and the right conditions without curling.

Conclusion on Pepper Leaves Curling

A  good pepper plant means you get more produce. With the above tips, the curling problem should no longer be a problem for you as quickly deal with the issue. Ensure you have the right planting conditions to get a healthy plant.